The independence and sovereign limits of Taiwan are disputed. Owing to the refusal of the mainland to recognize the island nation’s dissent and independence from the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan is diplomatically isolated, but has nevertheless fashioned a secular nation, well-recognised as relatively prosperous and free.

Constitution and government

Formally a secular state, Taiwan’s constitution and other laws and policies protect freedom of thought, conscience and religion, as well as freedom of expression, assembly and association. These rights are generally respected in practice.

Family, community and society

In addition to Buddhism and a range of other religions, secular moral Confucianism commonly pervades the culture.

Education and children’s rights

Compulsory religious instruction is not permitted in any Ministry of Education (MOE)-accredited public or private elementary, middle, or high school. High schools accredited by the MOE are not allowed to require religious instruction, but may provide elective courses in religious studies, provided such courses do not promote certain religious beliefs over others. Religious organizations are permitted to operate private schools.

Freedom of expression, advocacy of humanist values

There appear to be relatively few concerns of any kind about freedom of the press and of political opposition in Taiwan. The media is generally considered amongst the most free in Asia. Censorhip laws are in place but do not appear to be widely enforced. Taiwan is rated “Free” by Freedom House.

Three journalists covering student protests were arrested in Taipei in July 2015. They refused to pay bail, but were released the next day anyway. In a statement, the Mayor of Taipei, Ko Wen-je, apologized for “the violation of press freedom” and said that as mayor, he had “an obligation to protect press freedom.”